Image: The original ad for "Le Smoking", shot by Helmut Newton, and its update in 2103.
“What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.” - Susan Sontag
When Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo dared to wear it, it was still considered menswear whereas now, the most beautiful women in the world cannot make a public or fashion magazine appearance without wearing a version of the suit at least once in their lifetime.
Initially, like every great masterpiece, "Le Smoking" was heavily and mercilessly criticized. Yet, YSL so believed in his creation, that nothing deterred him. He along with Catherine Deneuve, one of his greatest muses, as well as all the other women who followed this avant-garde duo, led the way for decades to follow.
With the introduction of le smoking, he’d uncovered his definitive muse: the liberated, unfettered, independent woman. The critics that day were oh, so wrong. The tuxedo would be included in Saint Laurent collections for the next 30 years and literally revolutionized the way women dressed forever on. (From: On this day in fashion)
The tuxedo for women symbolizes a certain test of femininity, of such confidence in your sexuality that in your attempts to "hide" it, you make it that much more apparent. If you only carefully look at the women below, you'll agree that they are no less sexy, attractive, feminine - perhaps even moreso - then when wearing ballgowns or any other more revealing outfit.
“I thought the smoking was more modern than an evening gown. It played with a certain ambiguity” says YSL, "I created something that looked equally chic on men and women.”
For a great selection of additional photographs of "Le Smoking" you should visit this site.